Duterte orders to make OFW PhilHealth contributions voluntary


MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino Workers are no longer mandated to pay premium contributions to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., the Palace said Monday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte directed the PhilHealth to make the premium contribution of Overseas Filipino Workers on a voluntary basis.

In a briefing, he said in Filipino that Duterte “issued a directive to PhilHealth to make it payment of OFWs of PhilHealth premiums voluntary.”

He also said that the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will no longer require departing OFWs to pay PhilHealth premiums for the issuance of their Overseas Employment Certificate that would allow them to leave the country.

Migrant Filipino workers in the United Arab Emirates said Sunday that the hike in their mandatory monthly contribution is a huge burden for OFWs and is insensitive to their plight in this time of pandemic.

Under PhilHealth circular 2020-014, OFWs  who earn from P10,000 to P60,0000 a month must pay a three-percent monthly premium, up from 2.75% in 2019. Under the same circular, the minimum acceptable initial payment is a three-month premium.

An online petition on Change.org, signed by close to 300,000 persons, said “OFWs and our dependents have been already struggling amidst this pandemic and yet PhilHealth had issued a very unfrair memo regarding premium payments.”

Payment of higher premiums suspended

Roque also said in the same briefing that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III suspended a provision of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Universal Health Care law that hikes PhilHealth contribution “while we have a problem on COVID-19.”

Duque wrote in a tweet that he is calling for the suspension of Section 10.2 of the IRR of Republic Act 11223 or the UHC law “in light of COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact on OFWs.”

He added that he will recommend this to PhilHealth, an attached agency of the Health department.

“Meanwhile, we will reach out again to our stakeholders on this,” Duque added.



In a separate briefing, PhilHealth CEO and president Ricardo Morales said they have released a pronouncement “relaxing the collection period” of contributions.

“There is a moratorium until May 30,” he said, pointing out that this is in the spirit of the Bayanihan to Heal as One law.

Morales said the circular on the increased premium contributions covers “all direct members, those who are self-employed and paying their own premiums” and not just OFWs.

The PhilHealth president said they are also “looking at a longer period of the moratorium.” — Kristine Joy Patag

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 5, 2021 - 9:01pm

A thread of major news, developments and government pronouncements related the extended community quarantine across the country. Real-time updates about the coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines are available in this live blog. (Main image by AFP/Ted Aljibe)

August 5, 2021 - 9:01pm

The province of Laguna and the cities of Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro will be placed on lockdown until the middle of August, Malacañang announces.

"President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to place Laguna, Iloilo City and Cagayan de Oro under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) beginning Aug. 6 until Aug. 15, 2021," presidential spokesman Harry Roque says in a statement.

Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro have been under the strictest quarantine classification since July 16. — The STAR/Alexis Romero

June 11, 2021 - 4:28pm

The Department of Health reports an additional 6,686 COVID-19 infections, bringing the national tally to 1,300,349.

  • Active cases: 61,345 or 4.7%% of the total
  • Recoveries: 3,190, pushing total to 1,216,497
  • Deaths: 196, bringing total to 22,507
August 3, 2020 - 7:14am

President Rodrigo Duterte approves the recommendation of Cabinet members to place Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under modified enhanced community quarantine.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says the new quarantine measures will be imposed starting midnight of August 4 and will stay in place until August 18.

June 29, 2020 - 12:32pm

The inter-agency task force on COVID-19 imposes a moratorium on the transit of locally stranded persons in Western Visayas, Cebu island, Mactan, Eastern Visayas and Caraga.

"Wala na po silang lugar para mag-quarantine," IATF spokesperson Harry Roque says in a virtual briefing. 

(They have no place to undergo quarantine anymore.)

June 28, 2020 - 4:29pm

The Department of Health announces 485 "fresh" COVID-19 cases on Sunday, June 28.

Another 168 are "late" cases, or "released to patients four days ago or more."

Most of the cases are still from the National Capital Region, with 245 "fresh" and 111 "late."

Central Visayas accounts for 120 "fresh" cases and 11 "late" ones. 

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